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07.08.18

Apple Has Far More to Lose Than to Gain From Patent Maximalism; Apple Needs to Fight for Patent Sanity

Posted in America, Apple, Patents, Samsung at 2:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zeroclick, Uniloc, VirnetX, AVRS and many others can cost Apple billions in legal bills and settlements

Apple logo

Summary: It might be time for Apple to rethink its legal strategy; patents are costing the company a great deal of money and have yielded almost nothing for the company’s bottom line (unlike the company’s lawyers, perpetrators of this misguided strategy)

THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS are in full swing and many staff (e.g. EPO and USPTO examiners) likely enjoy a long break right now. In fact, journalists too slowed down; some are away. But it’s never a suitable time for them to stop the Apple hype. Whenever there’s some patent case involving Apple the corporate media suddenly bothers covering patent news (it otherwise doesn’t care because people don’t click on stories unless there’s some famous brand in the headline).

“Whenever there’s some patent case involving Apple the corporate media suddenly bothers covering patent news (it otherwise doesn’t care because people don’t click on stories unless there’s some famous brand in the headline).”This is a short roundup of Apple in patent news. This is far from the first time we point out the exceptional emphasis on Apple; we last mentioned it a few weeks (or 10 days) ago.

Chris Stokel-Walker’s article, “Forget Apple vs Samsung, an even bigger patent war has just begun,” is citing Florian Müller for the most part. Müller is correct and here’s the core thesis:

A tech giant like Samsung, Apple or IBM can register up to 5,000 patents every year – with engineers writing them “at a furious rate”, says Horace Dediu of Asymco, a mobile phone analyst. “IBM does this seriously. They just amass a huge arsenal of patents.” Apple alone has more than 75,000 patents and filed for over 2,200 more since the beginning of 2017. Samsung has filed for more than 10,000 patents in the last 18 months and in total has 1.2 million of them.

“My personal opinion is that this absolutely exorbitant number of patents you find in a phone shows that the hurdle for obtaining a patent is too low,” says Mueller. There should be more substantial investment behind every patent.

Crucially though, patents aren’t just important for protecting people’s inventions: they’re also a money-making tool. “Patents are one of these currencies that is always traded,” explains Dediu – or sold.

They are a tool used against opponents in a highly competitive industry. “If you have a patent, you can stop someone else shipping a product that contains that intellectual property,” says Dediu. “Generally, the rights are entirely held by the patent owner and those rights mean that an infringing product must be withdrawn from the market.”

The malicious use of patents to prevent competition rarely happens, but the sheer scale of the number of patents can stifle innovation. Mueller calls it a “patent thicket”. Companies can develop a new device or a new technology, then find themselves undone. “You inevitably – because there are so many of them – will be found to have infringed a patent,” he says. “That is a real problem for the industry.”

It’s not only Müller who calls it a “patent thicket”; it’s a widely-accepted legal term, albeit with the negative connotation it deserves, just like “patent tax”, “patent troll”, “royalty stacking” and so on. Euphemisms typically contain spurious and misleading words like “fair”, “reasonable” and “nondiscriminatory” (that’s FRAND). Either way, Apple is very aggressive with patents, but nowhere as aggressive as IBM and unlike IBM it also finds itself on the receiving end of a lot of lawsuits, including troll lawsuits (preying on the big ‘wallet’). This is why we habitually encourage Apple to join us in the fight against — not for — software patents. It certainly seems like quite a lot of software patents are being used against Apple, costing it billions of dollars in total.

“It’s not only Müller who calls it a “patent thicket”; it’s a widely-accepted legal term, albeit with the negative connotation it deserves, just like “patent tax”, “patent troll”, “royalty stacking” and so on.”The latest in Uniloc USA, Inc. et al v Apple Inc., as per Docket Navigator, is that “[t]he court granted defendant’s [Apple's] motion to strike plaintiff’s infringement contentions because plaintiff failed to sufficiently identify the accused instrumentalities.”

Uniloc is a major patent troll, just like VirnetX, which also preys on Apple and wants hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a Mac/Apple-oriented site, Joe Rossignol spoke of AVRS, which is not a classic patent troll but mostly software patents without an actual complete product, only litigation and “portfolio” (of patents). To quote Rossignol:

Arizona-based speech recognition technology company AVRS, short for Advanced Voice Recognition Systems, Inc., has filed a lawsuit against Apple this week, accusing the iPhone maker of infringing on one of its patents with its virtual assistant Siri, according to court documents obtained by MacRumors.

Those are software patents and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), if an inter partes review (IPR) was pursued, would likely cause them to perish. A few days ago a new example of this (patents on “Phonetic Symbol System”) was dealt with by the Federal Circuit (CAFC). “In a non-precedential decision,” Patently-O admitted, “the Federal Circuit has rejected George Wang’s pro se appeal — affirming the PTAB judgment that Wang’s claimed phonetic symbol system lacks eligibility under Section 101.”

“It certainly seems like quite a lot of software patents are being used against Apple, costing it billions of dollars in total.”Well, obviously. The patent system has become almost self-satirising and sites of patent maximalists are still cherry-picking slightly older (June) CAFC cases where mere dissent — not eventual judgment — gives hope to these maximalists.

And speaking of maximalists, the case of Zeroclick against Apple was brought up again at the end of last month. Patent Docs‘ patent maximalist Michael Borella belatedly catches up with Zeroclick, LLC v Apple Inc. (we have already mentioned Zeroclick in [1, 2, 3]), noting that “it is not uncommon for software inventions to be claimed as methods” (that’s purely semantics). To quote the details, which deal with § 112 rather than § 101:

Most software inventions are functional in nature. The focus is not on what the invention is so much as what it does. The same physical hardware can be programmed by way of software to carry out an infinite number of different operations. Thus, it is not uncommon for software inventions to be claimed as methods. But when such inventions are claimed from the point of view of hardware carrying out a method, the patentee runs the risk of the claims being interpreted under 35 U.S.C § 112(f) (pre-AIA § 112 paragraph 6) as being in “means-plus-function” form. This, of course, can effectively narrow the scope of the claims to embodiments disclosed in the specification and equivalents thereof. Also, such claims can be found invalid if the specification does not disclose sufficient structure to support the embodiments.

[...]

“First, the mere fact that the disputed limitations incorporate functional language does not automatically convert the words into means for performing such functions.” Notably, many structural components or devices are named after the functions they perform.

“Second, the court’s analysis removed the terms from their context, which otherwise strongly suggests the plain and ordinary meaning of the terms.” Particularly, the terms “program” and “user interface code” were not used in the claim as nonce terms, but instead refer to “conventional graphical user interface programs or code, existing in prior art at the time of the inventions.” And as explained in the specifications, the claimed invention was an improvement to such interfaces and code.

“Third, and relatedly, the district court made no pertinent finding that compels the conclusion that a conventional graphical user interface program or code is used in common parlance as substitute for ‘means.’” The Federal Circuit suggested that use of a broader term, such as “module”, in place of “program” and “user interface code” would have likely have invoked § 112(f).

For these reasons, the Federal Circuit reversed the District Court and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Patents on graphical user interfaces don’t relate to § 101, as we noted earlier this year (on numerous occasions even), but they oughtn’t be granted because copyrights and trademarks already cover appearances. If Apple fought against patent maximalism, many of these nuisance lawsuits would likely stop.

The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, expectedly worries that Qualcomm might lose key patents. And why? Because Apple does in fact reach out to PTAB, reaffirming the idea that technology companies need and support PTAB. IAM said that “the Apple v Qualcomm battle royale took on a new front in June as the iPhone giant turned to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to try to invalidate several of its rival’s patents. It is the first time that Qualcomm, widely seen to have one of the more valuable patent portfolios in the mobile and semiconductor sectors, has seen its grants challenged at the PTAB and should Apple start successfully knocking out some of its adversary’s patent claims it would give the tech giant some helpful leverage in a dispute…”

“If Apple fought against patent maximalism, many of these nuisance lawsuits would likely stop.”Similar things have happened in Europe, as we covered here earlier this year. Will patent maximalists soon start demonising Apple too, calling it “anti-patent”? Well, the PTAB-bashing Watchtroll again covers news from 3 weeks ago, adding nothing new except its pro-patent trolls slant (“Apple Brings Patent Battle Against Qualcomm to PTAB With Six IPR Petitions on Four Patents”), having covered another Apple story with this propaganda headline. The said case showed that only lawyers win in patent disputes, but here they go saying that 7 years of fighting is actually “Proving Patent Litigation Doesn’t Hinder Consumer Access” (the term “consumer” is an insulting word for customer and features were actually removed from these phones as a result of the fighting, directly harming customers). Had Steve Jobs never declared a patent war on Android, Apple would likely be in the same position that it’s in right now, albeit with fewer lawyers, not many legal bills, and without negative press coverage (berating it for patent aggression).

Project Battistelli: Documenting the Ugly and Illegal Things Battistelli Did at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Now that he’s officially out more people can spill the beans

Many beans

Summary: The efforts to shed light on what Battistelli did when he was in charge of the European Patent Office (both told and untold stories)

THE EPO has lost the psychopath in chief, but that does not mean that spilling the beans is an old thing which must end. We have not yet seen António Campinos distancing himself from Battistelli, even if Battistelli must begrudgingly distance himself from his 'palace'.

“Let’s set the record (history) straight. Battistelli’s ability to chase or punish sources is greatly diminished now.”Looking back, we’re far from done. Further EPO leaks are expected and would be greatly appreciated/welcomed. Now more than ever. For instance, we welcome leaks about old things (things that happened even years ago) that our audience knew but could not share/tell. Let’s set the record (history) straight. Battistelli’s ability to chase or punish sources is greatly diminished now.

One reader wrote to us today, reflecting not only on the past but also the future:

The dictator of the 10th floor vanished a week ago as dust in the desert. Exit Battistelli. We will remember Francesca and will forget Benoit. C’est la vie. I have never seen an happy ending for a dictator. I also would like to thank all contributors leaking crucial information. With this info we will make the ex-dictator and some friends accountable. Last but not least, before the Ex disappears our memories you may want to send him a farewell feedback to his email address as a deputy mayor in St Germain en Laye or even great him personally for his birthday an June 12th at his place in the Quartier des Ursulines.

“The dictator is gone,” I responded, “but the dictatorship is still there, so challenges remain ahead of us all.”

We need more leaks. We still need more information. Earlier this weekend I began sharing information publicly — information that I could not previously disclose for fear or retribution (against suspected sources). Among the things I wrote: “I can say that his [Battistelli's] staff, appointed by him (Team Battistelli), was (probably still is) so disgusting that examiners did not want to seat next them to them on planes” and “I can say that many of his workers hope he will die like his ‘mentor’ Lamy did. Suddenly, without warning, like a punishment from above.” (Cardiac)

People actually tell me this kind of stuff. Staff talks about it.

“Just because Battistelli is out doesn’t mean that the embarrassment to him is over. It just means he’s a lot less capable of responding to it, e.g. by punishing innocent people (or collective punishment).”I also wrote: “I can say that strong evidence exists that his people also covertly spy on former EPO staff (which I believe is illegal). Got more evidence? Get in touch with us…”

Also about Battistelli: “I can say that people even at top-level management (senior staff) at the EPO hate him…”

Working carefully and re-reading ~2,000 lines of unpublished drafts, I’m still trying to determine what is and isn’t safe to say (or in what form it’s safe enough to say it). We also have hundreds of unpublished EPO documents. Just because Battistelli is out doesn’t mean that the embarrassment to him is over. It just means he’s a lot less capable of responding to it, e.g. by punishing innocent people (or collective punishment).

Battistelli’s ‘Legacy’ Up in Flames as Britain is “Ending the Jurisdiction of the CJEU in the UK, With No More Preliminary References from UK Courts…”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli not only undermined the UPC; he harmed the perception of justice in the EU/Europe

Batti degage

Summary: The far-reaching and deeply damaging impact of Battistelli (e.g. on the image of France, Europe, Dutch/German parliaments and ILO among others) means that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is already in the ashtray of history along with his sponsored ‘studies’ that tell nothing but lies

Another nail in the UPC coffin was discovered and discussed over the weekend, e.g. [1, 2, 3]. Putting all their spin aside, a new British Government document says or speaks of “ending the jurisdiction of the CJEU in the UK, with no more preliminary references from UK courts…”

“The UPC is fundamentally dead for many reasons other than ‘Brexit’.”EPO scandals have contributed to the death of the UPC, even well before the so-called ‘Brexit’ referendum. And sure, there are now many additional barriers, including in countries like Spain, Hungary and Germany.

The vision of EPs becoming unitary ‘patents’ — or the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in general — is dead. Team UPC should just get over it and move on. As for British ratification, it was a meaningless publicity stunt. In 2016 Lucy said they’d ratify. She didn’t. Then came Jo (Jonhson). He said he would ratify. He couldn’t. Then came Sam, who needed a PR ploy on “World IP Day”. So they ‘ratified’… something which was inherently incompatible with ongoing processes. The UPC is fundamentally dead for many reasons other than ‘Brexit’. We didn’t need to (fore)see the unfortunate ‘Brexit’ travesty to know that.

“Only a crazy nation (or nation whose politicians are sufficiently corruptible) would let a court system be managed by a bunch that refuses to obey courts.”To us, ‘Brexit’ (which I personally oppose) wasn’t the main hurdle preventing the UPC from materialising. Battistelli’s abuses and hiring of thugs or criminals was enough. Later came further attacks on judges, unions, the law itself, and of course refusal to obey court orders. Only a crazy nation (or nation whose politicians are sufficiently corruptible) would let a court system be managed by a bunch that refuses to obey courts.

Put another way, the “B” which killed UPC wasn’t ‘Brexit’ but Battistelli. He ‘knifed’ his own baby like some biblical lunatic.

In Spite of Resistance From the Patent Microcosm the USPTO Strives to Improve Patent Quality

Posted in America, Patents at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Webinars reaffirm the longterm sustainability of PTAB

Laco
Mea culpa, patent purged

Summary: Efforts to thwart PTAB have been met with apathy from USPTO officials, who seem to recognise the value of quality assurance in this era of growing uncertainty about the validity of US patents

LAST WEEKEND Patent Docs advertised a July 17-18 event in which Ruschke, chief/head of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), is scheduled to give a talk. Not just any talk: “Keynote Address — The Honorable David Ruschke, Chief Judge, Patent Trial and Appeal Board, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office” (the one responsible for inter partes reviews (IPRs) that eliminate bad patents, wrongly granted by USPTO examiners). The real solution is to remove patents rather than removing the mechanism by which such patents get removed (what Battistelli did at the world’s most corrupt patent office).

Patent Docs then mentioned the meeting of Technology Center (TC) 2600, which takes place on the same day. It’s notorious among many patent maximalists for the same reason Ruschke is. To quote: “The Rocky Mountain Regional Office and Technology Center (TC) 2600 will be hoplding a combined Customer Partnership Meeting from 8:15 am to 3:00 pm (MT) on July 17, 2018 at the Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver, CO. TC 2600 examination for patent applications including Communications.”

Last but not least, there was this about IP5 from USPTO perspective:

Nelson Yang, Acting Director of International Patent Business Solutions in the Office of International Patent Cooperation of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Jocelyn Ram, Patent Business Analyst in the Office of International Patent Cooperation, will provide an overview of the Global Dossier concept and how the IP5 Offices (USPTO, EPO, JPO, KIPO, and SIPO) have been working together to provide additional services and functionalities. In particular, the new service, Citation List, will be highlighted to demonstrate its capabilities in prior art searching.

Well, prior art searching is crucial because without proper prior art searching patents will be granted in error, irrespective of how abstract they may be. The trend worth noting here is an effort to improve the quality of US patents — an effort last commended by John Thorne (HTIA) two weeks ago. He’s quoted as saying that “[t]he IPR process has been a necessary advancement for improving patent quality and creating stability to innovators threatened by invalid patents.”

This is what we should all strive for. Sadly, patent maximalists are fixated on this inane idea that Google is behind everything. HTIA fronts for many technology companies, not Google. The same is true for CCIA and EFF. But facts don’t matter to patent maximalists, for these facts merely interfere with their toxic agenda. We recently explained that 10 million US patents are far too much (most are likely bogus, but we’ll never know past their expiry). Bad quality of patents leads to presumption of invalidity — certainly a travesty for the perceived value of US patents. Here is what HTIA said about the 10 million patents mark:

On Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) marked the granting of the nation’s 10 millionth patent. Patent filings and issuances are at historically high levels, with more than 2.8 million active patents in the United States, which is both good and troubling news.

This plethora of patenting is the scorecard of a championship American season of innovation. But it has also given rise to challenges that could cut that season short. With the USPTO receiving more than 650K patent applications a year and issuing more than 350,000 patents a year based on an average examination time of 19 hours per patent, many invalid patents have been mixed in with the valid and valuable ones in recent years.

The most innovative tech products — smart phones, for example — can be covered by tens or hundreds of thousands of patents. It is almost a certainty that many of those patents are invalid, leading to a contamination of the innovation ecosystem. The danger underscores the value of recent reforms that are helping to clear the system of the USPTO’s mistakes.

We keep saying the same thing in relation to the EPO; if the house isn’t kept ‘in check’, EPs will lose their value, the number of applications will nosedive, and examiners will simply lose their jobs. Patent offices which get reduced/warped into patent-printing machines eventually stop printing. It’s like over-printing a currency — a very short-term strategy for sure.

The Term ‘Life Science’ Has Outlived Its Usefulness

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 7:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Large pumpkin

Summary: People who merely explain what’s in nature pretend to have just invented the wheel; discoveries are not inventions, however, especially discoveries of what has always been around; therefore patents are entirely misplaced in the domain, even if one calls that a “science”

THE TERM “Life Sciences” was always rather bizarre to me. It started to be used a lot more after I had completed my Ph.D., whereupon all sorts of departments around here started calling themselves “Life Science” (vague term), offered courses in “the Life Sciences”, job titles started to be renamed accordingly and so on. It’s not a synonym for biologist, geneticist etc. It’s just some nebulous new thing.

“It’s not a synonym for biologist, geneticist etc. It’s just some nebulous new thing.”What is a “Life Science” really? A science or an investigation of life itself? Or nature? Maybe reverse engineering? However one defines it (and definitions may change over time and de facto depend on common use), the term nowadays seems to be used quite abundantly to justify patents on things that do not merit them. It’s not medical, it’s not necessarily a science (I did my Ph.D. in “Medical Biophysics” by the way) and it often involves something that’s not invented, just privatised. Consider this new article titled “Ethiopia vs Europe: The Intellectual Property of an Ancient Grain, Teff” and another slightly older one from the same source: “Colombia: Reinstates Roundup Fumigations, This Time By Drone”.

Who ‘owns’ seeds? Who ‘owns’ animals? We don’t talk about individual seeds and animals but the very concept of them, or the DNA behind them. The EPO and the USPTO have both stepped in a puddle of insane patent maximalism, invoking at least the wrath of farmers in Europe, where Monsanto has come to ‘rename’ itself Bayer.

“Who ‘owns’ seeds? Who ‘owns’ animals? We don’t talk about individual seeds and animals but the very concept of them, or the DNA behind them.”6 days ago Kluwer Patent Blog wrote about “Edwards Lifesciences” (one word) and IAM, which promotes patent trolls, has just said (in its headline) that “HP moves into life sciences” (whatever that means).

Here they go again with “life sciences,” often a misnomer and excuse for patents on nature and life. “Life Sciences” is, in our experience, mostly a couple of buzzwords (two-word term) by which to promote patents on life itself. That’s a problem. Patent Docs, a site of patent maximalists, now has this thing called “PTAB Life Sciences Report”. The preface: “About the PTAB Life Sciences Report: Each month we will report on developments at the PTAB involving life sciences patents.”

“They basically call life itself (or nature) a “science” and thus make it sound acceptable to grant patents on life/nature.”Now they say “life sciences patents,” alluding quite likely to some vague concepts like patented genetics. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) rightly tackles many of these.

Patent examiners need to ask themselves whether that term, “life sciences patents,” means anything like “science patents”. They basically call life itself (or nature) a “science” and thus make it sound acceptable to grant patents on life/nature.

Links 8/7/2018: Jonathan Corbet Interview, LLVM 6.0.1

Posted in News Roundup at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • SmartOS Announces New Builds Geared Toward VM & Cloud Server Administrators

    Developers from the SmartOS project announced the release of build #20180705, which promises to help spread Solaris-based software on the headless server market. Most of the media attention regarding free and open-source operating systems these days focuses primarily on implementations of GNU/Linux and *BSD.

    illumos, a fork of OpenSolaris, is set to take the world by storm however. It’s perhaps best known for the unusual lack of capitalization in its name, but developers are now really promoting it as a stable Unix system for extremely secure environments.

  • Zstd 1.3.5 Released With Greater Dictionary Compression Performance

    The Facebook developers working on the Zstandard “Zstd” compression technology released their latest update a few days ago, v1.3.5 that is codenamed the “Dictionary Edition” given its dictionary compression performance improvements.

    Zstd 1.3.5 offers its most benefits when compressing very small files, generally less than 8KB blobs but up to 32KB depending upon the context. When compressing these very small files, Zstd 1.3.5 can offer up to a 15x performance improvement over previous releases. The performance improvements should be quite noticeable in the real world but if you are simply compressing large files, the advantages will be much less or unchanged compared to earlier Zstd versions.

  • The BeOS file system, an OS geek retrospective

    A dozen years later, the legendary BFS still merits exploration—so we’re diving in today, starting with some filesystem basics and moving on to a discussion of the above features. We also chatted with two people intimately familiar with the OS: the person who developed BFS for Be and the developer behind the open-source version of BFS.

  • Events

    • CommCon 2018 – The Open-Source Community Comes Together

      Image my surprise when last year Dan kicked off CommCon, a new conference focused on the open-source developer community. Billed as “a conference done right”, my first thought was “is the same Dan?” Yes, it is the same Dan.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • MDN Changelog for June 2018

        A changelog is “a log or record of all notable changes made to a project. [It] usually includes records of changes such as bug fixes, new features, etc.” Publishing a changelog is kind of a tradition in open source, and a long-time practice on the web. We thought readers of Hacks and folks who use and contribute to MDN Web Docs would be interested in learning more about the work of the MDN engineering team, and the impact they have in a given month. We’ll also introduce code contribution opportunities, interesting projects, and new ways to participate.

      • Mozilla Firefox 61 “Quantum” Web Browser Is Now Available for Ubuntu Linux Users

        The latest and greatest Mozilla Firefox 61 “Quantum” web browser has arrived for users of the Ubuntu Linux operating systems, and it’s now available as an update through the official software repositories.

        Released by Mozilla on June 26, 2018, the Firefox 61 release continues to improve the Quantum series of the open-source and cross-platform web browser with a new layer of performance improvements that include faster page rendering, as well as faster tab switching on Linux and Windows platforms.

      • Firefox 61.0.1 Released to Improve Playback of 1080p Twitch Videos, Fix Bugs

        Mozilla released the first minor maintenance update to the recently launched Firefox 61 “Quantum” web browser series to address a few annoyances reported by users lately and also add some enhancements.

        Launched on June 26, 2018, Firefox 61.0 “Quantum” web browser introduces multiple performance improvements, among which we can mention faster switching between tabs on Linux and Windows platforms, faster page rendering, a more consistent user experience, as well as an additional layer of customization for tab management.

      • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 40
      • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Security Advisory for rustdoc

        The Rust team was recently notified of a security vulnerability affecting rustdoc plugins. If you are not using rustdoc plugins, you are not affected. We’re not aware of any usage of this feature.

        You can find the full announcement on our rustlang-security-announcements mailing list here.

      • BMO ❤️ Emoji: bugzilla.mozilla.org will be down for eight hours on July 14th, 2018
  • CMS

    • BloomReach and Magnolia Release Updates, More Open Source News

      BloomReach has announced the release of BloomReach Experience and Hippo CMS v12.4, a minor release which introduces new functionalities and improvements. The highlights of this release are:

      Improved Publishing Functionality: Users can publish or request publication of a document directly from within the channel manager. This removes the constant need to navigate to the content perspective area to publish or request publication of a new document.

      Projects Feature Now Works Asynchronously: Editors can now view changes being made by multiple users in real-time.

      API Documentation Support: For developers, API documentation support is now available for the Page Model Rest API.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • How VMware Manages Open Source Code and Compliance [Ed: Clearly openwashing. VMware is 1) a vendor that puts back doors in things (ask EMC/Dell) and 2) a serial GPL violator that refuses to comply. Dirk Hohndel moved from openwashing Intel to doing it for VMware.]
  • BSD

    • What is FreeBSD? Why Should You Choose It Over Linux?

      Not too long ago I wondered if and in what situations FreeBSD could be faster than Linux and we received a good amount of informative feedback. So far, Linux rules the desktop space and FreeBSD rules the server space.

      In the meantime, though, what exactly is FreeBSD? And at what times should you choose it over a GNU/Linux installation? Let’s tackle these questions.

      FreeBSD is a free and open source derivative of BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) with a focus on speed, stability, security, and consistency, among other features. It has been developed and maintained by a large community ever since its initial release many years ago on November 1, 1993.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GIMP 2.10.4 Moves To Asynchronous Font Loading, Horizon Straightening

      GIMP 2.10.4 was quietly released earlier this week as the latest stable release in the GIMP 2.10 series.

      While GIMP 2.10.4 is primarily comprised of bug fixes, there are also a few new features. The feature work that made it into this release includes simple horizon straightening, asynchronous font loading, fonts tagging, dashboard updates, Adobe PSD loader improvements, and GEGL/babl improvements.

    • RISC-V: Initial riscv linux Ada port

      I was asked about Ada support, so I tried cross building a native RISC-V Linux Ada compiler, and it turned out to be possible with a little bit of work. I just started with the MIPS support, and then fixed everything that was obviously wrong: endianness, error numbers, signal numbers, struct_sigaction offsets, etc.

      The result is good enough to bootstrap natively and seems to give reasonable native testsuite results for a first attempt. The machine I’m running on has broken icache flushing, so trampolines won’t work, and I suspect that is causing a lot of the testsuite failures. Here are the Ada testsuite results I’m getting at the moment.

    • Ada Language Support For RISC-V With Latest GCC Patches

      While the GCC compiler merged its RISC-V port last year, among its limitations have been not supporting the Ada compiler. That’s now changing thanks to new patches posted today.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • New Software::LicenseMoreUtils Perl module

      Debian project has rather strict requirements regarding package license. One of these requirements is to provide a copyright file mentioning the license of the files included in a Debian package.

      Debian also recommends to provide this copyright information in a machine readable format that contain the whole text of the license(s) or a summary pointing to a pre-defined location on the file system (see this example).

      cme and Config::Model::Dpkg::Copyright helps in this task using Software::License module.

    • 01:C++ Boost libraries can increase productivity

      Writing code for every function in a software can be time consuming and expensive, so many C++ developers prefer to use libraries which contain modules for different applications to increase productivity. While there are already some libraries integrated with the standard C++ programming language, one of the most popular sources of C++ portable libraries is Boost, https://www.boost.org . These boost

    • LLVM 6.0.1 Released

      Tom Stellard at Red Hat has continued with his duties of serving as the LLVM point release manager and today formally issued the LLVM 6.0.1 update.

    • Does your project suffer from technical drift?

      Certainly, if the developer had known this would happen, he or she would not have chosen this implementation (I hope). For you Angularities, we are converting all our apps to use the reactive forms approach. More code, fewer HTML directives—a much better choice for testing and understanding the flow in the application.

    • Investigating CPython’s Optimisation Trickery for Lichen

Leftovers

  • The EU is polling citizens if daylight saving is really necessary

    Europe might scrap their daylight savings rule — and they’re leaving the choice in citizen’s hands.

  • Science

    • Open Offices Make You Less Open

      Not surprisingly, this shift from face-to-face to electronic interaction made employees less effective.

      [...]

      What is surprising, however, is the fact that face-to-face interactions declined so sharply in the first place. My critiques of open offices (c.f., Deep Work) assumed that removing spatial barriers would generate more face-to-face disruptions. In this study, removing barriers instead decreased these interactions while increasing the amount of electronic distraction.

    • Who controls the tech inside us? Budding biohackers are shaping ‘cyborg law’

      Karen Sandler has a complicated relationship with her pacemaker. On the one hand, the device has the power to save her life. On the other, it sometimes suddenly and unnecessarily shocks her, mistaking a slight aberration in her heartbeat as a call for help.

      Sandler was pregnant during two of those occasions, when the pacemaker detected her heart palpitations (which aren’t abnormal in expecting mothers) and delivered an unwarranted jolt. Worried that the device would misfire again, Sandler asked the manufacturer for access to its source code, hoping to reconfigure the implant to suit her condition. The manufacturer denied her request.

    • NASA needs to update its rules on how to keep the Solar System clean, report says

      For 50 years, NASA has followed a rigorous set of guidelines to prevent the contamination of other worlds while exploring the Solar System — but it may be time those guidelines got an update. That’s according to a new report from National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which did a thorough review of NASA’s policies for limiting interplanetary contamination. The organization says that NASA’s much more complex space missions and a rapidly expanding private space industry demand new sets of rules, as well as a better process for implementing them.

    • Newcastle University Historic Computing

      We’ve managed to secure some funding from various sources to purchase proper, museum-grade storage and display cabinets. Although portions of the collection have been exhibited for one-off events, including School open days, this will be the first time that a substantial portion of the collection will be on (semi-)permanent public display.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘Lots of Things That Impact Our Food System Come From the Farm Bill’

      After House Republicans passed their Farm Bill, reportedly the first time the critical measure—involving everything from nutrition assistance to crop subsidies—has passed either chamber with only single-party support, Donald Trump tweeted, “Farm Bill just passed in the House. So happy to see work requirements included. Big win for the farmers!”

      Among other things, Trump doesn’t mean farmers like the Callahan family, profiled in Civil Eats, small farmers in South Carolina who not only qualify for SNAP—the food assistance program Trump is crowing over making harder to access—but who benefit also from programs Republicans would cut, that encourage the farmers’ markets where the family make much of their income, including selling to people who pay with SNAP benefits.

      The Senate version pushes back on some of that, but does that make it good? And what else should we know about what’s likely to be in the final legislation, due by the end of September? Patty Lovera is the assistant director of Food and Water Watch. She coordinates the food team. She joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Patty Lovera.

  • Security

    • Linux experts are crap at passwords!

      Fortunately, Gentoo’s GitHub respository wasn’t the primary source for Gentoo code, and few, if any, Gentoo users were relying on it for software updates.

    • Gentoo publishes detailed report after its GitHub was compromised

      You may have seen the news towards the end of June that Gentoo, a fairly advanced Linux distribution, had its GitHub repository compromised after an attacker managed to gain access to one of the connected accounts. Now, Gentoo has published a comprehensive report about the incident and it turns out that the gaff was due to not following rudimentary security tips.

    • Weak Admin Password Caused Compromise of Gentoo GitHub repository

      Gentoo have finished their investigation of the hack that affected their project last week on GitHub. The point of vulnerability has turned out to be a weak Administrator password. upon compromise the hackers added the Linux killer command “rm -rf /” so when users cloned the project to their computers all their data will be erased.

    • Gentoo Linux Github Organization repo hack was down to a series of security mistakes [iophk: "again, the projects own code repositories were unaffected"]

      It seems that the hackers were able to gain access to the GitHub organization account by using the password of one of the organization administrators. By the team’s own admission, poor security meant that the password was easy to guess. As the Register points out, “only luck limited the damage”, but the Gentoo Linux team is keen to let it be known that it has learned a lot from the incident.

    • Gentoo admits a lack basic security was to blame for GitHub mirror hack [sic]

      Gentoo has finally issued a report laying out the magnitude of the attack, which took place on 28 June and saw the distribution site unable to use GitHub for approximately five days.

    • Craig Small: wordpress 4.9.7

      No sooner than I had patched WordPress 4.9.5 to fix the arbitrary unlink bug than I realised there is a WordPress 4.9.7 out there. This release (just out for Debian, if my Internet behaves) fixes the unlink bug found by RIPS Technologies. However, the WordPress developers used a different method to fix it.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Senate panel announces hearing on computer chip flaws [iophk: "computer or just x86?"]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Feds’ Bid for Drone Secrecy OK’d by Second Circuit

      The U.S. government can redact a fact about its predator drone program believed to have been publicly acknowledged since 2013, the Second Circuit ruled unanimously on Thursday.

      The three-judge panel would not reveal what the United States wanted to keep under wraps, but attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union believes it relates to a targeted-killing program in Pakistan, which former Secretary of State John Kerry even acknowledged while in office.

    • How Trump Went From ‘Fire and Fury’ to Dismissing North Korean Nuclear Advances

      When the North Koreans were shooting off missile tests and detonating new, more powerful atomic bombs last year, President Trump responded with threats of “fire and fury” and ordered the military to come up with new, if highly risky, pre-emptive strike options.

      But since the one-day summit meeting last month in Singapore, Mr. Trump has done an about-face, while the North’s nuclear program has continued. “Many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well!” he wrote Tuesday morning on Twitter.

      Even the recent revelations of seemingly modest North Korean progress on missile technology and the production of nuclear fuel — including continued work on a new nuclear reactor that can produce plutonium — have not dimmed Mr. Trump’s enthusiasm. He argues that they mean little compared to the new tone of conversations, and that even though North Korea has not disassembled a single weapon, his mission should be judged a success.

    • Ex-CIA Officer: Pompeo Faces ‘Extraordinary Challenge’ on NoKo Denuclearization Timeline

      Former CIA Chief of Station Daniel Hoffman said Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faces an “extraordinary challenge” in getting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to commit to a timeline for denuclearization.

      Pompeo is in North Korea for negotiations following President Trump’s historic Singapore Summit with Kim, as the administration looks for a substantive commitment from the North Koreans to end their nuclear weapons program.

    • Pompeo begins talks in Pyongyang on North Korean denuclearization
    • Pompeo in North Korea vows to get details of nuke commitment
    • CIA Plots Iran Coup – Partners With Terrorist Group

      The Iranian (People’s Mojahedin) MeK had been on the US terrorism list for more than 15 years…until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to remove them from the list in 2012. They’ve killed plenty of Americans, including high-ranking US military officers. Now the CIA, along with neoconservatives and many US politicians, has embraced the MeK as the best “democratic” alternative to Iran’s current government. Did you know the “former” terrorist MeK paid current Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao $50,000 for a five minute speech in 2015? Crazy? Her husband is the Senate Majority Leader. In Washington that’s money well-spent. The CIA’s incredibly stupid plan for Iranian regime change in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

    • Washington Moves Against Rafael Correa

      As President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa was a Godsend for the Ecuadorian people, for Latin American independence and for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. By serving justice and truth instead of Washington, Correa earned Washington’s hatred and determination to destroy him.

      Correa was succeeded as president by Lenin Moreno, who Correa mistakenly believed to be an ally, but who has every appearance of being a Washington asset. The first thing that Moreno did was to make a deal with Washington, block Correa from being able to again stand for the presidency and turn on Julian Assange. Moreno wants to revoke the asylum granted to Assange and has prevented Assange from continuing his journalistic activity from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In other words, Moreno has conspired with Washington and the UK to effectively imprison Assange in the embassy.

    • Ecuador judge orders arrest of ex-president Rafael Correa

      Balda himself was charged with orchestrating a foiled coup attempt in 2010. The charges were filed when the lawmaker was in Colombia, from where he was eventually deported to Ecuador in 2012 and served a year in prison for endangering state security.

      Correa, who is living in Belgium with his family, is up in arms over the court’s ruling, arguing on Twitter that the request to put him in custody was made without “a single piece of evidence.” He believes the extradition does not stand a chance at the international level.

    • No Trump, No Clinton, No NATO

      Marina Hyde’s vicious and spiteful attack on Susan Sarandon and the Green Party points to the real danger of anti-Trump protest next week being hijacked by the neo-con warmonger franchise. The idea that those of us who do not want arch warmonger Clinton in power are therefore supporters of Trump is intellectually risible and politically dishonest.

      Yesterday the OPCW reported that, contrary to US and UK assertions in the UN security council, there was no nerve agent attack on jihadist-held Douma by the Syrian government, precisely as Robert Fisk was execrated by the entire media establishment for pointing out. The OPCW did find some traces of chlorine compounds, but chlorine is a very commonly used element and you have traces of it all over your house. The US wants your chicken chlorinated. The OPCW said it was “Not clear” if the chlorine was weaponised, and it is plain to me from a career in diplomacy that the almost incidental mention is a diplomatic sop to the UK, US and France, which are important members of the OPCW.

      Trump’s reaction to yet more lying claims by the UK government funded White Helmets and Syrian Observatory, a reaction of missile strikes on alleged Syrian facilities producing the non-existent nerve agent, was foolish. May’s leap for British participation was unwise, and the usual queue of Blairites who stood up as always in Parliament to support any bombing action, stand yet again exposed as evil tools of the military industrial complex.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Union Unite sues collapsed Carillion on behalf of ex-workers

      Britain’s biggest labor union said on Tuesday it has launched legal action against Carillion on behalf of former workers of the company whose jobs were made redundant following the collapse of the British outsourcer in January.

    • Blacklisting 101: Ex-Carillion Workers on GCHQ Contract Sue Over Redundancy Pay

      A group of former Carillion employees working on Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) when the British construction giant collapsed at the start of 2018 have launched legal action over their mistreatment.

      The legal action is being led by Unite, the UK’s biggest trade union, on behalf of 27 members made redundant after Carillion went into compulsory liquidation January 15, and is the first yet undertaken for affected workers following the company’s insolvency.

      The group were were employed by Carillion subsidiary Planned Maintenance Engineering Limited, on a contract at GCHQ, the UK government’s listening headquarters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Eight days after going into compulsory liquidation, the company’s 80-strong workforce was told by administrator PriceWaterhouseCoopers they faced redundancy — the workers were duly dismissed February 6 without consultation, and told to claim redundancy pay from the government.

    • 6 comforting lies about Brexit – and why Hard Brexiteers are being un-British

      Brexit has not shown British democracy at its best, as some people claim, but at its worst. It has revealed how confused and ambiguous is our political system. An apparently simple question has been spun it into and expensive, time-consuming farce in which no one can agree who decides how we decide how to decide. Who is in charge? Parliament? The government? The people? Curiously, it is the House of Lords that has shown most nous and which has given us an insight into the shortcomings of the convoluted constitution.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Twitter reportedly suspended 70 million accounts in past two months in crackdown
    • Ex-CIA chief Brennan compares Trump to Bernie Madoff

      Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan on Thursday compared President Trump to convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff.

      “You are to governance & politics what Bernie Madoff was to the stock market & investment advice,” Brennan tweeted at Trump.

      “The two of you share a remarkably unethical ability to deceive & manipulate others, building Ponzi schemes to aggrandize yourselves,” Brennan added. “Truth & justice ultimately caught up with Bernie.”

    • Ex-CIA Director John Brennan Compares Trump To Convicted Fraudster Bernie Madoff
    • Giant ‘Trump Baby’ balloon approved to fly

      The giant inflatable figure was given permission by Sadiq Khan to fly during the US president’s visit.

    • What Does It Mean to Give David Petraeus the Floor?

      Some historians worry that giving the former general an invitation to keynote means giving him a pulpit.

    • Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez too “far left” for America? Absolutely not

      Something to celebrate on the Fourth: A new political day is breaking in America, however the media spins it

    • Read former EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s full resignation letter

      Pruitt said in his resignation letter that it was an “honor to serve” on Trump’s Cabinet, but that “the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.”

    • Ding Dong, The Stooge Is Gone — Scott Pruitt Slinks Out Of Town

      Scott Pruitt, the man whose life’s mission has been to blow up the EPA so his friends and financial supporters could enrich themselves, has put his tail between his legs and snuck out of town. His resignation came as allegations of malfeasance, corruption, abuse of office, and self dealing threatened to overwhelm him.

    • Don’t Believe Those Who Wish To Diminish Digital Rights By Falsely Implying It’s All Big Tech Lobbying

      As we have been covering in the last couple of weeks, a controversial EU Copyright Directive has been under discussion at the European Parliament, and in a surprising turn of events, it voted to reject fast-tracking the tabled proposal by the JURI Committee which contained controversial proposals, particularly in Art 11 and Art 13. The proposed Directive will now get a full discussion and debate in plenary in September.

      I say surprising because for those of us who have been witnesses (and participants) to the Copyright Wars for the last 20 years, such a defeat of copyright maximalist proposals is practically unprecedented, perhaps with the exception of SOPA/PIPA. For years we’ve had a familiar pattern in the passing of copyright legislation: a proposal has been made to enhance protection and/or restrict liberties, a small group of ageing millionaire musicians would be paraded supporting the changes in the interest of creators. Only copyright nerds and a few NGOs and digital rights advocates would complain, their opinions would be ignored and the legislation would pass unopposed. Rinse and repeat.

      But something has changed, and a wide coalition has managed to defeat powerful media lobbies for the first time in Europe, at least for now. How was this possible?

    • Federal court rules against drone hobbyist, sets stage for regulations

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s ruling against a drone hobbyist who sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to pave the way for new drone regulations.

    • Drone Regulations in U.S. Withstand a Hobbyist’s Legal Challenge

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday rejected arguments by drone hobbyist John Taylor, who last year had successfully overturned the Federal Aviation Administration’s system for registering unmanned aircraft.

      While the three-judge panel said Congress intended to exempt some hobbyists from regulation — provided they weren’t creating a safety hazard — they denied Taylor’s request to invalidate the rules.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Netflix is killing off user reviews

      User reviews—both the ability to write them and to read them—have been limited to the desktop version of Netflix. Reviews for individual shows and movies didn’t appear in any of Netflix’s apps, but users could rate programs on the Netflix website and then add written comments.

    • Netflix is ditching user reviews

      Once a mainstay of the service, Netflix’s user reviews are going away. The movie streaming giant has shifted away from the feature over the last few years, and by the end of the summer, they’ll be gone from the site altogether.

    • Germany: ‘Decapitating’ Freedom of the Press?

      Why the beheading should be kept a secret is anyone’s guess. What has become clear is how easily authorities in Germany can censor the news and punish bloggers who spread undesired information. They have a vast toolbox of laws at their disposal. It does not seem to bother them that the law invoked in this case stipulates explicitly that it shall not be applied to the “reporting of contemporary events.”

      In an apparent attempt to sweep under the rug a recent double homicide in Hamburg, Germany, authorities there censored the story. They also raided the apartments of a witness who filmed a video describing the murder, and a blogger who posted the video on YouTube.

    • Facebook, Wes Cook Band, work to resolve patriotic song ‘censorship’ row

      The Wes Cook Band says that it is in a “productive dialogue” with Facebook after the social network prevented the group from using its paid tools to promote their song “I Stand for the Flag.”

      After a series of back-and-forth comments made by the band and the social network, the two parties issued a joint statement, with Facebook thanking the Wes Cook Band for working with them on the issue.

    • Facebook faces questions after flagging country song as ‘political’ content

      Facebook’s policies aimed at upholding standards for political and offensive content have given rise to new allegations it is engaging in exactly the kind of bias it is trying to prevent, as new research shows most Americans believe social media companies are censoring political speech they find objectionable.

      Leading up to Independence Day, the Liberty County Vindicator in Liberty, Texas set out to publish the text of the Declaration of Independence in 12 daily posts. The tenth, containing paragraphs 27-31, was blocked after Facebook determined it “goes against our standards on hate speech.”

    • SBU backs controversial bill on website censorship

      Russia’s use of new technologies against Ukraine as part of hybrid warfare has turned the information sphere and cyberspace into one of the key arenas of confrontation with the aggressor, the SBU said.

    • Former National Public TV journalists call for sacking Alasania for ‘censorship,’ destroying regional broadcasters and corruption

      Former journalists of the The National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (PBC) have urged the State Television and Radio Broadcasting to sack PBC board chairman Zurab Alasania.

      “We, the representatives of the journalistic community, demand ending the contract with Alasania, who introduced censorship, disrupted the regional TV and radio companies and involved himself in corrupt scandals,” ex-First Deputy Director of Ukrainian Radio Roman Tchaikovsky said at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Thursday.

    • Casting a critical eye over the past: problematic language in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work

      In the early 1950s, the American Library Association created an award to “honor an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” Past winners of the award include such prestigious authors as Dr. Seuss, Beverly Cleary, E.B. White, Eric Carle and Maurice Sendak. The award was named after an author whose work, at the time, epitomized its goal, and the first award was given to its namesake in 1954: the then 87-year-old Laura Ingalls Wilder.

      However, even before the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award was given its moniker, questions arose as to whether Wilder’s name was an appropriate choice.

      According to the Washington Post, in 1952, a reader complained to the publisher of “Little House on the Prairie” that there was some racially charged text in Wilder’s book.

    • Stripping Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from literature award is censorship

      Last week, at its convention in New Orleans, the American Library Association announced that it was dropping Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from the prestigious children’s literature award that was created in her honor in 1954, three years before her death. The award “recognizes authors and illustrators whose books have created a lasting contribution to children’s literature” and has been given to only 23 people over the past 60 years.

      The reason the ALA gave for erasing Wilder’s name from the award is that “although (her) work holds a significant place in the history of children’s literature and continues to be read today, (we) had to grapple with the inconsistency between (the author’s) legacy and (our) core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect. Wilder’s books reflect dated cultural attitudes toward indigenous people and people of color …”

      Translation: Laura’s mother, Ma Ingalls, didn’t like “the Indians,” and at some places in the six-book arc there were characters who called them “wild animals” or otherwise showed a lack of respect for their plight.

    • Malaysian Government Decides To Dump Its Terrible Anti-Fake News Law

      Malaysia’s government seized upon the term “fake news” as a way to silence coverage of internal corruption. The new law gave the government a way to steer narratives and control negative coverage, going beyond its already-tight control of local media. It would have worked out well for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was facing a lot of negative coverage over the sudden and unexplained appearance of $700 million in his bank account.

      Razak is no longer Prime Minister. His replacement, Mahathir Mohamad, claimed he would abolish the law if elected. Once elected, Mohamad walked back his promise, replacing “abolish” with “modify.” In the meantime, the law had already claimed at least one victim, a Danish national visiting Malaysia who made dubious claims on YouTube about police response time following the shooting of an activist.

    • Censorship too common at universities like Lindenwood, experts say

      Censorship of student-run publications happens more often than it should, especially at private colleges, according to officials with College Media Association, the Student Press Law Center and the Society of Professional Journalists.

      Universities often defund publications as a knee-jerk reaction to accurate coverage the university dislikes, said Kari Williams, director of SPJ’s Region 7, which includes Missouri.

      “It’s something you should be doing in college, getting into pieces that could ruffle some feathers,” she said.

    • Censorship in Uzbekistan: The more things change, the more they stay the same?

      It’s all change in Uzbekistan, or so we are told. Since the 2016 death of the country’s ruler of nearly three decades, Islam Karimov, the ex-Soviet republic of 33 million people has opened its door a crack and pulled up the blinds.

      Tourists are increasingly welcome inside the Central Asian republic and the government is looking out to the world too, attempting to secure investments, loans and better relations with the countries that surround its double-landlocked territory.

      Karimov’s successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has publicly celebrated the legacy of his former mentor, but has also made efforts to distance himself from some of the darkest elements of his long, repressive reign.

      But how far will Uzbekistan go in its stated desire to end forced labour? How confident can we be of the government’s pledge to end torture in the country’s jails? And will it ever accept a critical press and even limited political opposition?

    • OSCE issues rebuke to Ukraine over draft internet censorship law

      OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir called on Ukrainian lawmakers to review a draft bill that would allow the Security Service of Ukraine to block websites declared as threatening to Ukraine’s national security without a court ruling.

      The bill jeopardizes free access to information online, Désir said in a July 6 statement.

      “I call on the lawmakers to seriously reconsider the text of the draft law and balance security concerns with the citizens’ right to free expression and free media,” Désir said.

    • Russian artists on culture, identity and censorship

      Photographer Matteo Lonardi and reporter Antoaneta Roussi visited Russian artists in their studios to shoot their portraits and speak to them about their work, the art scene and creative censorship.

      Many of the artists, based in and around Moscow and St Petersburg, once displayed their work in public spaces, but faced with increasing censorship there, some now feel more comfortable retreating to their private studios.

    • ‘SLĀV wasn’t cancelled from censorship,’ states Montreal jazz fest

      The Montreal International Jazz Festival is denying that its decision to cancel a controversial show featuring a white woman singing songs composed by black slaves was an act of censorship.

      Festival CEO Jacques-Andre Dupont says the decision to cancel the remaining presentations of SLĀV on Wednesday was made both for security concerns and because the show’s star, Betty Bonifassi, was injured and indicated she was no longer in a position to continue.

    • Montreal jazz fest says decision to cancel SLAV show wasn’t censorship

      The Montreal International Jazz Festival broke its silence Sunday on its decision to cancel a controversial show featuring a white woman singing songs composed by black slaves, denying the decision was an act of censorship.

      Festival CEO Jacques-Andre Dupont said the decision to abruptly cancel SLAV partway through its run was made for “a mix of technical and human reasons,” including security concerns raised by the escalating vitriol surrounding the show.

      He also said that the show’s star, Betty Bonifassi, had broken her ankle and indicated she was no longer able to continue.

    • Michigan library slams ‘Fifty Shades’ censor who ‘deliberately’ hid movies
    • ‘Fifty Shades’ series goes missing from Berkley library
    • UK politicians push for FOSTA SESTA-style sex censorship
    • By failing to listen to sex workers like me MPs are only adding to the stigma and danger we face
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • All EFF’d Up | Yasha Levine

      The lords of the internet care very little about user privacy—what they want to preserve, is their own commercial license against government regulation of any kind.

    • The Next Frontier in Threats to your Privacy: Voice Recognition

      Interpol, whose motto is “connecting police for a safer world,” is the largest international police organization, with 192 member countries around the globe. It recently announced the completion of a four-year project “to develop new technology to help the law enforcement community identify the voices of unknown individuals.” As well as Interpol, the Speaker Identification Integrated Project (SIIP) involves an international consortium of 17 partners including end-users, industry and academia. The €10.5 million funding (about $12 million) came from the European Commission. SIIP aims to tackle two challenges facing law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the digital world:

    • Privacy policies of tech giants ‘still not GDPR-compliant’

      Privacy policies from companies including Facebook, Google and Amazon don’t fully meet the requirements of GDPR, according to the pan-European consumer group BEUC.

      An analysis of policies from 14 of the largest internet companies shows they use unclear language, claim “potentially problematic” rights, and provide insufficient information for users to judge what they are agreeing to.

    • The Cybersecurity 202: How Trump’s Supreme Court pick could influence digital privacy
    • Conservatives, civil libertarians pan Supreme Court finalist Brett Kavanaugh’s ‘troubling’ NSA ruling

      Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, previously represented the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit against the call record collection and said it would be incongruous for Trump to express concern about surveillance practices, then nominate a forceful backer of the discontinued historical dragnet.

      “I don’t want to take a position on the viability or merit of any particular possible nominee, but I think it would be odd and incoherent for a president who has expressed so much concern about the abuse of surveillance power to nominate a judge who went out of his way to declare that he was untroubled by the NSA’s dragnet collection of hundreds of millions of Americans’ call records,” Jaffer said.

      Attorney Miguel Estrada, a Kavanaugh supporter nominated unsuccessfully for a federal judgeship in 2001, defended the opinion, arguing the “special need” analysis seems to be fall in line with court precedent.

    • Mysterious AT&T Building In East Dallas May Be Collecting Data For The NSA, Report Says

      There’s a big, chunky building with tiny, obscured windows along Bryan Street in Old East Dallas that is a bit of a mystery. A pair of reporters from The Intercept think they’ve unraveled some of that mystery.

      For this week’s Friday Conversation, KERA’s Rick Holter talked with one of those reporters, Ryan Gallagher, via Skype from London. Gallagher’s report in The Intercept says that the AT&T building could be a spy hub for the National Security Agency.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Tops Warren Buffett to Become the World’s Third-Richest Person

      Buffett, once the world’s wealthiest person, is sliding in the ranking thanks to his charitable [sic] giving, which he kicked off in earnest in 2006. He’s donated about 290 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to charities, most of it to Gates’s foundation. Those shares are now worth more than $50 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Zuckerberg has pledged to give away 99 percent of his Facebook stock in his lifetime.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump

      Japanese-Americans, Native Americans, and African-Americans are all too familiar with the cruelty of family separation.

      Children are crying for their parents while being held in small cages. The attorney general tells us the Bible justifies what we see and the White House press secretary backs him up. Be horrified and angered, but not because this is a new Trump transgression against real American values. America was in the business of separating families long before Trump.

      I am not talking about spurious claims that Obama did the same thing or the valid comparisons to how our criminal justice system uses a cash bail system that every day rips children from their families before they or their parents have been convicted of any crime. The true story is that the United States has a well-documented history of breaking up non-white families.

      When we sent Japanese Americans to internment camps, families were often separated when fathers were sent hasty relocation orders and forced labor contracts. In some cases, family members (usually the father) had been arrested earlier and sent to a different camp.

      Forty years later, the U.S. government apologized, provided reparations of $20,000 to every survivor of those internment camps, and blamed the “grave wrong” on “racial prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

      Sound familiar?

    • Supreme Court Ignored International Law in Upholding Muslim Ban

      The Supreme Court’s opinion last month in Trump v. Hawaii, affirming Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, has permitted the United States to act in flagrant violation of international law.

      Under the guise of deferring to the president on matters of national security, the 5-4 majority disregarded a litany of Trump’s anti-Muslim statements and held that the ban does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which forbids the government from preferring one religion over another. Neither the majority nor the dissenting opinions even mentioned the U.S.’s legal obligations under international human rights law.

      The travel ban violates two treaties to which the United States is a party: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It also runs afoul of customary international law.

      Both of these treaties and customary international law prohibit the government from discriminating on the basis of religion or national origin. Trump’s Muslim ban does both.

    • Police Union Upset Not All Books Paint Cops As Heroes, Calls For Removal Of Titles From School’s Reading List

      “Forewarned is forearmed,” people once said. But I guess today’s teens should grow up in a bubble where every authority figure — especially the shiny blue knights of law enforcement — are portrayed as trustworthy, honorable, and deserving of respect.

      The union’s complaint only draws more attention to the books it doesn’t like and allows more people to get a glimpse of the “gods among men” mentality that prevails in these organizations. Hopefully, the school won’t pull the books from the recommendation list. Teens need to learn the world is far more complicated and ugly than they’ve been led to believe. This isn’t indoctrination. It’s not even remotely close to that. It’s just two books with plausible plot lines on a list of eight books teens may possibly read over the summer. That they happen to feature officers acting the way officers actually act is an indictment of cops and their mentality, not some low-level brainwashing attempt by the school district. That the union views these selections as a threat speaks volumes about its childish “cops never do wrong” mindset.

    • UK ‘knew US mistreated detainees’

      The UK tolerated “inexcusable” treatment of US detainees after the 9/11 attacks, MPs have found.

      The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said it was “beyond doubt” the UK knew the US mistreated detainees.

      The UK continued to supply intelligence to allies in 232 cases where British officials knew or suspected mistreatment, its report said.

    • ‘See Something, Say Something’ But For Immigrants Continues To Collect Little But Petty Complaints From Petty Americans

      The president’s new “see something, say something” program isn’t about national security, even if he’ll claim it is. It’s about gathering whatever bits of evidence he can use to shore up his repeated claims about “dangerous” immigrants. The narrative doesn’t work without it. Unfortunately, despite the money and manpower being thrown at it, the lack of “bad hombre” data continues to undermine this administration’s assertions.

      Last year kicked off with a bunch of ICE sweeps. Done in hopes of rustling up enough undocumented hardened criminals, it was a robust failure. Communications obtained from ICE show it inflated the number of “egregious” cases by cannibalizing reports from other jurisdictions, if not travelling back in time to include violators seized during 2016 raids. Even the inflated numbers were underwhelming.

      The next step was the VOICE hotline — a place where citizens could report suspicious individuals they suspected were undocumented and known criminals/immigrants. Calls are fielded 12 hours a day, supported by $1 million in annual funding taken directly from “any and all resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens.”

    • America on Thin ICE

      This weekend hundreds of thousands marched to protest Donald Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policies. I was grateful not to be marching in Washington D.C. where the creator of “Hamilton” serenaded the crowd. I mean seems pretty American, but yeah. For all those at risk of being deported, the obnoxious nature of liberals hardly matter. People turned out to march. What else will save immigrants from this atrocious administration? As a privileged American citizen though, I must say liberals still aren’t my cup of tea. In Saint Paul, out came the strollers and the (almost) clever signs, including one with the Statue of Liberty saying WTF. An unnecessary sign I thought. She’d be in full approval of Trump’s actions. The only immigrants she has ever liked were the Europeans who slaughtered the Native Americans en masse.

      Separating families at the border. Can we get lower than that? The Trump Presidency continues to get more appalling. How is this possible? When there is no memory, the only moment is the previous one that must get upstaged. Mr. Trump has truly been ambitious in his egregious behavior. His Republican buddies and the rest of the scum in the Supreme Court have been no better. Democrats continue to be lame and completely uninspiring.

      I remain on a day to day basis as disheartened by the real listlessness of the Democrats as I do the truly zealous pursuit of cruelty of Trump and co. It is from the humdrum of the modern liberal society that the spectacular barbarity of Donald Trump arises. How helpless one feels under a Republican, how hopeless one feels under a Democrat. Their lack on enthusiasm for life is a real bummer. And for what reason? Corporate culture demands the submission of the soul and it eliminates all emotions of uplift.

      [...]

      This brings us to the extreme hypocrisy of America’s vicious immigration policy. As America spreads 800 military bases across the world, dropping bombs every 12 minutes, we do not even take in families who are starving, homeless and have no place to go. Worse yet, once they make it here and start to establish at least some sense of a safe and secure life they are ripped away again, often split up from their own families in the process. All this is done to deter people from making the trip across the border in the first place but when you are homeless, thirsty, hungry, and have no place to go, the risk will be taken regardless. How ignorant are America’s leaders if they don’t know that? Want less immigrants? Don’t undermine every movement that attempts to bring stability to the very regions these people are fleeing from. But who says American leaders don’t want immigrants? They are cheaper labor after all.

    • 90 Years After the Birth of Che Guevara

      Last week was the 90thanniversary of the birth of Che Guevara. He was a revolutionary. But he was also a philosopher. The latter is not well-known. He argued with the Soviets about motivation. Che said human beings are not motivated by televisions and cars, at least not for tasks that matter.

      Capitalist economists now say he was right, although they don’t give him credit.[i] For simple, uninteresting challenges, we act for gain. But for tasks of sacrifice, discovery and creation, material gain is often irrelevant. Moral incentives, Che said, are what drive us to change the world.

      He meant “moral” in a broader sense than mere cultivation of virtue. He meant the experience of growth as a human being: realization of essentially human capacities, emotional and intellectual.

    • In Harris County, Texas, The Death Penalty Is Applied With A Judicial Rubber Stamp

      It’s not a justice system. It’s a rigged game where the prosecution runs the table nearly 100% of the time. And it’s happening in a state that has always taken time to brag about how many criminals it puts to death. The state’s courts are complicit in the removal of anything adversarial from a supposedly adversarial process. The system in Harris County appears to be broken at every level, starting with the routine jailing of the presumptively innocent (thanks to absurdly-high bail amounts and an adamant refusal to release arrestees on their own recognizance) and running all the way up to the rubber-stamping of prosecutors’ paperwork in death penalty cases.

    • A Day After Report, Violent White Supremacist Loses Job With Defense Contractor

      Defense contractor Northrop Grumman said it will investigate an employee identified as a member of a violent white supremacist group in a recent report by ProPublica and Frontline.

      The employee, Michael Miselis, a 29-year-old aerospace engineer, works at the company’s facility in Redondo Beach, California, and holds a government-issued security clearance of the sort required for personnel assigned to classified military projects. Outside of his professional life, Miselis belongs to the Rise Above Movement, a racist Southern California group whose members have physically attacked their political foes in at least four different cities.

    • Louisiana is No Longer the World’s Prison Capital. Here’s What’s Next.

      After spending years as the prison capital of the world, a new report indicates that Louisiana has finally shed this shameful title thanks to the historic package of criminal justice reforms passed last year. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, Louisiana’s incarceration rate is now the second highest in the nation, below that of Oklahoma.

      This is a major milestone and a testament to the diverse grassroots coalition that came together to pass proven, evidence-based reforms that are reducing our prison population, saving taxpayers millions, and improving public safety. These reforms reined in mandatory minimum sentences, expanded parole eligibility, and stopped people from getting thrown in jail for court fees they couldn’t afford to pay. And they are already paying big dividends for our state and its citizens.

      In the year since these laws were passed, our total prison population has dropped by 7.6 percent, and the number of people imprisoned for nonviolent crimes has decreased by 20 percent. Equally promising is that prison admissions for drug possession have dropped by nearly half. And despite the constant fear-mongering of opponents, there are signs that Louisiana’s overall crime rate is down as well.

    • ‘Data Needs to Serve a Public Safety Purpose’

      Employees of the Department of Homeland Security received tips from leadership about how to protect themselves while in public, saying they may face a heightened threat as more and more people protest the cruel and malicious treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers at the Mexican border. From DHS head Kirstjen Nielsen being heckled out of a restaurant, to protesters in Portland blockading the entrance to the ICE office there—a tactic spreading now to other cities—to the city of Sacramento saying they would no longer be used as a warehouse for ICE detainees, acts of defiance are growing.

      But as some are trying to disassociate from the enforcers of the White House’s inhumane and racist agenda, some big-name companies are moving in the opposite direction, quietly contracting with federal agencies for millions of dollars, in some cases enabling some of the most distressing programs and tactics. And that’s just the ones we know about.

    • The Hidden History of the Women Who Rose Up

      Like all colonial societies, Australia has secrets. The way we treat Indigenous people is still mostly a secret. For a long time, the fact that many Australians came from what was called “bad stock” was a secret.

      “Bad stock” meant convict forebears: those like my great-great grandmother, Mary Palmer, who was incarcerated here, at the Female Factory in Parramatta in 1823.

      According to nonsense spun by numerous aunts – who had irresistible bourgeois ambitions — Mary Palmer and the man she married, Francis McCarthy, were a lady and a gentleman of Victorian property and propriety.

      In fact, Mary was the youngest member of a gang of wild young women, mostly Irish, who operated in the East End of London. Known as “The Ruffians”, they kept poverty at bay with the proceeds of prostitution and petty theft.

      The Ruffians were eventually arrested and tried, and hanged — except Mary, who was spared because she was pregnant.

      She was just 16 years old when she was manacled in the hold of a ship under sail, the Lord Sidmouth, bound for New South Wales “for the term of her natural life”, said the judge.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • What I’ve learned from nearly three years of enterprise Wi-Fi at home

      In mid-2015, I retired my Apple Airport Extreme and upgraded my home’s Wi-Fi with a set of wireless access points from New York-based networking OEM Ubiquiti. I was trying to accomplish two things: first, to eliminate some persistent Wi-Fi dead spots that I just couldn’t reach, even by extending my network with a couple of Airport Expresses (Airports Express?). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I wanted some new homelab gear to tinker with so that I could get some hands-on time with an enterprise grade (or at least “enterprise-lite” grade) Wi-Fi system, because playing with the big toys is fun.

    • FCC stands by decision to raise broadband prices on American Indians

      Under Chairman Ajit Pai’s leadership, the FCC voted 3-2 in November 2017 to make it much harder for Tribal residents to obtain a $25-per-month Lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service. The changes could take effect as early as October 2018, depending on when they are approved by the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    • What Soda Taxes And Lead Paint Have To Do With Internet Regulation

      They say that laws are like sausages, and you should never watch either be made if you don’t want to be sick. But some manufacturing processes are more disgusting than others, and if we don’t want to suffer ill-effects, we need to keep an eye on the worst of them.

      As others have discussed, the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is at best a law with troubling aspects, if not completely chilling for future Internet businesses and even non-commercial online expression. True, there may be the opportunity to amend it before it goes into effect to dull the worst of it, but how we find ourselves in this position where we are stuck with a ticking time bomb of a law that we now need to fix is a story worth telling, because if it could happen once it could happen again. And already has.

      Which is why I’m going to tell the story about how California just banned soda taxes (in fact, not coincidentally, right around the same time that it passed the CCPA).

      To understand what happened, one first needs to understand a bit about the California Constitution. In addition to setting up the typical branches of government (legislative, executive, judicial), it also allows for a form of direct democracy through ballot initiatives. Ballot initiatives generally only need a simple majority to pass, but once passed, they can be very difficult, if not impossible, to un-pass or modify them without another ballot measure. Even when ballot measures only amend statutory code, and not the Constitution itself, the legislature can be prevented from making any modifications to that new language, no matter how necessary those changes may be, unless the ballot initiative allows the legislature to act. And even if the initiative does permit it, it may require a much more difficult to attain super-majority of the legislature to make any changes, rather than the simple majority typically required to pass legislation.

    • 6 RFCs for understanding how the internet works

      Reading the source is an important part of open source software. It means users have the ability to look at the code and see what it does.

      But “read the source” doesn’t apply only to code. Understanding the standards the code implements can be just as important. These standards are codified in documents called “Requests for Comments” (RFCs) published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Thousands of RFCs have been published over the years, so we collected a few that our contributors consider must-reads.

  • DRM

    • Japan to initiate a government-led blockchain project

      Japan starts to study a blockchain system for contents management. The government is aiming to support Japanese contents business (e.g. game, character) by providing a system which realizes smooth copyrights handling by using smart contract and other functions based on blockchain technology. The Japanese government is reportedly planning to proceed to the validation phase in 2019.

      In addition to this government project, Sony seems considering using blockchain technology for Digital Rights Management (DRM). Reportedly, Sony has filed a patent application, which was published by USPTO on April 26 2018, for using blockchain technology to manage ownership of purchased games for PlayStation 4.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Ethiopia vs Europe: The Intellectual Property of an Ancient Grain, Teff

      Teff is a grain dating back time immemorial in Ethiopia cuisine. Its flour is used to produce injera, a staple spongy flatbread used as a base to serve vegetables and meat. It would take European and U.S. scientists until the 1990s to study and conclude that teff is a super-grain. The revelation came a few years after Bill Crystal joked in the 1989 U.S. blockbuster film “When Harry Met Sally”: “I didn’t know that they had food in Ethiopia? This will be a quick meal. I’ll order two empty plates and we can leave.”

      [...]

      The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office, a government cabinet tasked with handling questions related to intellectual property, is not taking the matter lightly.

      In May, the cabinet announced a series of legal and diplomatic actions to regain control of the grain and its sub-products so germane to Ethiopian gastronomy. Now, Ethiopia’s attorney-general will bring a case against the company at the International Court of Arbitration.

      The Norwegian research firm, Instituto Fridtjof Nansens, reported in 2012 that “as a result of several circumstances, Ethiopia was left with less possibilities than ever to generate and share in the benefits resulting from the use of genetic resources of teff” due to the Dutch company, which has since gone bankrupt.

      The Coalition Against Biopiracy criticized former directors of the Health and Performance Food International, saying they sought to “monopolize” teff strains, which were developed over a period of “millennia” by Ethiopian farmers and horticulturists.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay sets sail with crypto-mining once again

        The process of crypto-mining involves using a PC’s processing power to crunch the equations needed to generate or ‘mine’ cryptocurrency coins, like Bitcoin or Monero. Unsurprisingly, this can absorb a lot of processing power and cause chips to get pretty hot and bothered.

      • Court: Usenet Provider Can Be Held Liable for Pirating Users

        German music rights group GEMA is celebrating a legal victory against Aviteo, the company behind Usenet provider UseNeXT. The Regional Court of Hamburg ruled that the Usenet provider can be held liable for copyright infringements committed by its users. No damages amount has been established and the ruling can still be appealed.

      • EU Parliament Sends ‘Upload Filters’ Back to the Drawing Board

        In a plenary vote, the European Parliament said no to the Copyright Directive mandate. This means that the controversial copyright reform proposal will be opened for debate and possible amendments. Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda describes the outcome as a “great success,” noting that the protests have worked.

      • EU sends controversial internet copyright reforms back to the drawing board

        The draft law, known as the Copyright Directive, was intended as a simple update to copyright for the internet age. But it attracted substantial criticism for the inclusion of two key provisions: Articles 11 and 13. The first, Article 11, was a “link tax” that would force online platforms like Facebook and Google to pay news organizations before linking to their stories; while the second, Article 13, proposed an “upload filter” that would have required all content uploaded online to be checked for copyright infringement.

      • NZ court rules Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US on copyright charges

        But before they could put Dotcom on trial, the US government had to get Dotcom to the United States. And Dotcom has now managed to drag that process out for more than six years by fighting extradition in the New Zealand courts.

      • Kim Dotcom Loses Extradition Appeal, Will Take Case to Supreme Court

        Kim Dotcom and former colleagues Mattias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato, have failed in their latest bid to avoid extradition to the United States. In a ruling handed down this morning, New Zealand’s Court of Appeal upheld earlier rulings that found the quartet should be handed over to face criminal charges relating to defunct file-sharing site Megaupload.

      • Kim Dotcom loses appeal to avoid U.S. extradition

        Dotcom plans to appeal Wednesday’s decision to the New Zealand Supreme Court. The charges stem from the file-sharing website he founded, Megaupload.

        “An extradition hearing is not a trial. It is held to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to commit a person for trial on a qualifying offense,” the New Zealand Court of Appeals said in its ruling.

      • Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US, New Zealand appeal court rules

        The six-year legal saga is widely seen as a test for how far the United States can reach globally to apply American firms’ intellectual property [sic] rights.

      • Post Office owes $3.5M for using wrong Statue of Liberty on a stamp

        Davidson sued, arguing that he was owed royalties for unauthorized use of an image of his statue. But the Post Office argued that as a mere copy of a famous statue, Davidson’s work wasn’t entitled to copyright protection. The Post Office also argued that the use of the image was permitted by copyright’s fair use doctrine because the Post Office derived little value from using an image of Davidson’s slightly different version of the statue rather than the original.

      • Postal Service misidentifies Statue of Liberty in stamp in a $3.5 million mistake

        The photograph featured in the stamp design actually shows a Statue of Liberty replica outside the New York-New York casino hotel in Las Vegas. Stamps with the Las Vegas image were in circulation for at least three months before the Postal Service realized the mistake — 3 billion were printed. The Postal Service found the photograph on a stock image site, and defended its decision to use it.

        [...]

        The replica’s sculptor Robert Davidson didn’t share the sentiment. He sued the government for copyright infringement, and a judge ruled in his favor.

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